Sunday, July 25, 2010

Long Term Unemployment Way Up

The Federal Reserve Banks all have publications written for the rest of us. One of those is of EconSouth, produced by the Atlanta Fed ( The Second Quarter 2010 issue looks at long term unemployment. The title is, “Out of the Workplace… and Struggling to Find a Way Back in.”
The article says, “The U.S. Department of Labor examines the nation’s workforce from multiple angles: age, gender, educational level, and geography, to name a few. Among these demographic categories, the growth of long-term unemployment is apparent. In April 2009, 27.5 percent of the nation’s unemployed had been out of work 27 weeks or longer, according to BLS data. By December, that number had jumped to 39.8 percent of the unemployed. By April of 2010, the number was drawing close to half of unemployed workers at 45.9 percent, practically double the rate from the previous recession, which peaked at 23 percent.
“A group known as the marginally attached includes people not looking for work but who indicate they want a job and have looked sometime in the last year; discouraged workers (a subset of the marginally attached, they have given a job market–related reason for not currently seeking work); and people working part time for economic reasons (for example, those who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule). The U.S. Census Bureau places the combined percentages of the unemployed and marginally attached at around 17 percent of the potential labor force, which comprises the employed, unemployed, and marginally attached.”
In New Mexico during the first quarter of 2010, this larger group came in at 14.5 percent of the potential labor force. See
Retraining is an uncertain venture for those over 50 because the rate of return is low, the article says. Shifting workers into a new sector also is easier said than done.

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